Det. James Grady credited the arrest on Thursday of a registered sex offender who was allegedly recruiting a local boy for a relationship to an alert parent and quick police work.
On Thursday, Vernon Detectives arrested Mark Joseph Tucker Jr., 54, of 155 West Main St. in the Rockville section of Vernon, on serious charges related to the alleged attempted sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy, Grady said in a news conference.
The charges are:
• Criminal attempt at illegal sexual contact with a victim younger than 16.
• Risk of injury to a minor.
• Criminal attempt to deliver alcohol to a minor.
The address where Tucker lives is the Springville Mill apartment complex in Rockville.
Grady said the investigation into Tucker began after Vernon police received a complaint from the boy's mother, who had become suspicious of Tucker’s relationship with her son.
Tucker allegedly befriended the boy, hired him to wax his car, and took the boy out to dinner, Grady said. The boy’s mother decided to check Connecticut’s online sex offender registry and learned that Tucker was a convicted sex offender from Vermont, Grady said.
She then notified the police, Grady said.
Detectives learned through their investigation that Tucker befriended her son after seeing him hanging around the parking lot of a local business, Grady said.
Grady said police learned that Tucker's intentions were not to have the boy actually work for him, but to become friends with the boy and to try to have a sexual relationship with him. Tucker allegedly offered the boy beer when he was with him, police said.
Grady said Tucker allegedly has a sexual attraction to "early teenage boys."
During the incident, Tucker was a driving a silver Cadillac Escalade sport utility vehicle with Connecticut marker plates, Grady said. Police said he owned the vehicle, but the registration was not in order.
Police also learned through the investigation that Tucker had a second Cadillac Escalade, which was a white 2011 model, stored in a local storage facility. The Cadillac was reported stolen last month from Scranton Cadillac/Buick/GMC dealership in Vernon, Grady said. The vehicle is valued at $54,000, Grady said.
Tucker was charged with first-degree larceny on Wednesday, an arrest report indicates.
Tucker was arraigned on Thursday in Rockville Superior Court on the larceny charge. The bond for the charge was originally $50,000, but a judge cut that in half, police said.
Tucker is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday on the charges related to his relationship with the boy, Grady said.
The bond for those charges is $50,000 cash, Grady said, and Tucker is in custody.
Vernon detectives have released Tucker’s photo in an effort to seek information about other incidents that may have occurred involving Tucker other area boys.
Tucker’s Vermont conviction occurred in 1994 and involved the Sexual Assault of a juvenile male, police said.
Grady and detective division commander Lt. William Meier credited the case to "great police work" and said the case was put together over a few days.
Grady said it is also a testament to an alert parent.
"If you see something or have a feeling that something just isn't right, call the police," he said. "The boy's mother did the right thing."